Educators battle Eternal September by teaching digital citizenship with MinecraftEdu

Zachary Lutz
Z. Lutz|11.21.12

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Eternal September is now somewhat of an antiquated term, but its relevance as a concept is nonetheless alive and kicking on the internet today. Once upon a time, September was the month when a whole new group of individuals -- primarily college students -- were introduced to Usenet discussion boards, and many took a few bruises as they were introduced to online etiquette. Eventually, tightly knit digital communities became unable to cope with the deluge of new users, and it's said that online discourse has never fully recovered. So the saying goes, we now live in Eternal September.

As proof that not all hope is lost, developers and educators are now collaborating on a project known as MinecraftEdu, which aims to teach digital citizenship in the classroom. Through virtual interaction with others, the game exposes students to a wide variety of concepts such as ethics, privacy, research and safety. From there, educators are able to use the in-game experiences to lead discussions that focus on protecting oneself and taking responsibility for one's actions. In effort to reinforce these concepts, developers are also integrating quizzes and lesson reviews into MinecraftEdu. Much like the real world, Minecraft's open-ended style is thought to demonstrate that an online community is what you make of it, and as development progresses, perhaps we'll all come to benefit from its lessons. In the meantime, you can stick your nose into these forward-thinking classrooms with the video below.

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